Football News

Jurgen Klopp: Not since Del Piero have I seen a finisher like Philippe Coutinho

By Ben Green

Published: 13:26, 22 August 2019

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has likened his former talisman Philippe Coutinho to Italian great Alessandro Del Piero.

Coutinho, 27, recently completed a season-long loan move to Bayern Munich having struggled to rediscover his Merseyside form at the Camp Nou with Barcelona.

What is Coutinho’s best role? Five things to know…

  • Klopp has explained how Coutinho’s favoured position is behind the striker.
  • However, he has admitted that he rarely positioned the Brazilian in the No 10 role.
  • Instead, Coutinho was largely utilised on the flank in a No 8 position, with his cut-in from the left becoming a hallmark of his game.
  • At Barca, Coutinho was again deployed in a similar position on the touchline, for the most part.
  • And Klopp believes this attacking versatility will be key for Bayern Munich this season.

The 55-capped Brazil international left Anfield for £142m in January 2018 but a failure to live up to expectations in Catalonia has seen him relocate to Bavaria this summer.

But if Klopp’s ringing endorsement of Coutinho’s goalscoring prowess is anything to go by, the Bundesliga giants could have their hands on a player as explosive as World Cup winner and Juventus legend Del Piero.

“Coutinho has an unbelievable eye for goal from range,” the former Borussia Dortmund manager told Kicker.

“I haven’t seen seen a player coming in off the left and striking the ball with such regularity and precision from those kind of positions since Del Piero.”

‘Coutinho is a No.10’

Klopp went on to explain the diminutive Carioca’s best position, revealing how he never utilised him in his preferred No 10 role, instead deploying him as an inside forward on the left flank.

Coutinho was exposed to a similar treatment under Ernesto Valverde, with the Spanish tactician rarely playing him in the playmaker role, but rather out wide, with 67 of his 76 Barca appearances coming from the flank.

However, Klopp believes this versatility in the final third will be an invaluable commodity to the current Meisterschale holders.

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“Coutinho didn’t get to play in his preferred No.10 role all that much when he was with us, but he’s a great No.8 and is a fantastic left winger because he’s incredibly good in tight spaces and has the pace to exploit bigger spaces,” he explained.

“He dominates football matches, and is a real asset if he can put his stamp on the team.

“Bayern needed him, and Bayern wanted him. If they can integrate him and get the very best out of him, the Bundesliga will have a top player on its hands.”